Final Stats |
– The No. 13/13 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-1 overall; 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference) put together a dominating performance on the road to beat No. 8/6 Georgia (4-1, 2-1) 38-10 Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.
In a game played mostly in a steady rain, senior quarterback Jake Coker and the Alabama offense were efficient while the defense had both Bulldogs quarterbacks under duress all game long. Coker had a rushing and passing touchdown, junior running back Derrick Henry added another touchdown on the ground, and the Tide scored on a 50-yard interception return by junior defensive back Eddie Jackson and on a blocked punt by freshman defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Freshman receiver Calvin Ridley caught five passes for 120 yards, his first game over the century mark, and one touchdown while Henry set a new career-high in attempts (26) and rushing yards (148). The Alabama defense was a disruptive force in the wet conditions all day, forcing a total of four turnovers, including three interceptions by three different members of the secondary. Georgia’s two quarterbacks completed only 11 of 31 pass attempts and averaged 3.2 yards per pass. The Tide gained 379 yards of offense (190 passing and 189 rushing) and converted 15 first downs. The Bulldogs picked up 299 yards for the game (106 passing and 193 rushing) along with converting 12 first downs.
Alabama won the opening toss and deferred to the second half. Georgia chose to receive to start today’s game.
Following a touchback on the kickoff, the Bulldogs offense went three-and-out, coming up just short on a completion on third-and-9. The Crimson Tide took over at their own 31 and appeared to have a first down on a Derrick Henry rush, but the junior running back fumbled on the play, and it was recovered by Georgia at the Alabama 42. The Tide defense came up with a stop on the sudden change of possession, forcing another punt.
Alabama started its next drive at the 20, but Henry was stood up on third-and-1. The Bulldogs had good field position again after the punt, but quarterback Greyson Lambert failed to pick up a first down as he scrambled on third-and-5. Georgia chose to punt the ball away again, their third three-and-out of the quarter.
Taking over at the 20, Coker connected with freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley down the sideline for a 50-yard gain on the opening play. Alabama would move the ball into the red zone when Coker floated a pass over the middle that was hauled in by senior Richard Mullaney for 24 yards, but from there two penalties halted the drive. On fourth-and-Goal from the 11, junior kicker Adam Griffith booted a 29-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Tide a 3-0 lead. The drive covered 69 yards in seven plays and took 4:28 off the clock.
Georgia responded with an extended drive of their own. Running back Sony Michel carried three straight times for the Bulldogs’ initial first down of the game. Then Lambert hit Malcom Mitchell for a 36-yard pass play. On the next series, running back Nick Chubb converted on third-and-1 from the 25. The quarter ended with Alabama ahead but Georgia threatening.
To begin the second quarter, Lambert threw incomplete on third down. That brought out the field goal unit, and Marshall Morgan made the 34-yard field goal, but the Tide was called for a personal foul on the play. That gave the Bulldogs a first down at the 8, but the offense went in reverse from there, eventually facing a third-and-Goal from the 35. Lambert was able to complete a pass to Terry Godwin to get back in field goal range, and Morgan was good on the 27-yard attempt to tie the game at 3-3. Georgia held the ball for nearly seven minutes.
The Alabama offense was balanced on their next possession. Following a first down picked up on the ground, Coker and Ridley combined for 14 yards through the air. Two plays later, Coker found Mullaney open on the sideline for 18 yards, releasing the ball just as he was being hit. That set Henry up to finish the drive off, who broke off a 30-yard run for the touchdown. The drive lasted 3:57, covering 76 yards in eight plays.
Both offense traded three-and-outs following the touchdown. Georgia started its next possession with a false start, and Greyson Lambert was under pressure on his two pass attempts after Michel was dropped for a loss on first down. The Bulldogs lined up to punt from the 16, but the punt was blocked by freshman defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. He picked up the ball near the goal line and took it into the end zone for the score, extending the lead to 17-3.
Georgia began its next possession inside the 10 as a result of a holding penalty on the kickoff return. Chubb gained two yards on first down, but the Bulldogs advanced no farther and were forced to punt again. The punt was only 36 yards, and Alabama took over in Georgia territory. The very next play, Coker threw a perfect pass to Ridley on a seam route for a 45-yard touchdown strike. Griffith added the extra point to make the score 24-3 in favor of the Tide with 3:48 to play in the half.
Chubb tried to get Georgia’s offense on track, carrying the ball on three straight plays for one first down, but that was all the Bulldogs could manage. Alabama took over at the 20, with a pair of penalties stopping the drive before it could get started, resulting in a three-and-out. Sophomore punter J.K. Scott boomed a 54-yard punt to flip the field on the Bulldogs, and with 49 seconds to go, Georgia chose to let the clock run out on the half when backup quarterback Brice Ramsey was sacked by junior linebacker Tim Williams.
With the Tide getting possession to open the second half, the Georgia defense produced a three-and-out to give the ball back to their offense. Ramsey went to play-action on the first play, but the pass was intercepted by junior defensive back Eddie Jackson right at midfield. Jackson took off after picking off the pass, making a few moves on the return to take it all the way back to the end zone. Less than two minutes into the half, Alabama led 31-3.
The Bulldogs couldn’t convert a first down when they got the ball back, going three-and-out for the seventh time on the day. Senior Cyrus Jones fielded the punt at the Alabama 40 and returned it nine yards. Georgia was called for a personal foul late hit on the play, tacking on 15 yards and moving the ball all the way to the Georgia 38. Coker connected with sophomore receiver ArDarius Stewart for 23 yards. After back-to-back carries by Henry, Coker faked the handoff to the junior running back and kept the ball for a two-yard rushing touchdown. That made the score 38-3 for the Tide with 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Each team had a three-and-out on offense following Coker’s rushing touchdown. Georgia put a drive together on its next possession, picking up 48 yards to take the ball down to the Alabama 33. But on third-and-10, Ramsey’s pass was again intercepted, this time by redshirt freshman Marlon Humphrey at the 5, the first interception of his career.
That possession was one of three straight that ended in a turnover, as Coker and Chubb both lost fumbles that were recovered by the defense. After a Tide punt, the Bulldogs had the ball at their own 17. On the first play Chubb took the handoff and burst through the line of scrimmage, racing 83 yards for Georgia’s first touchdown of the game. The touchdown closed the margin to 38-10, which is where the score stood after three quarters.
On their first possession of the fourth quarter, Alabama and Georgia each went three-and-out. The Tide pieced together a drive on their next possession, moving the ball 35 yards to reach the Georgia 35. But on fourth-and-3 Coker misfired while trying to connect with junior tight end O.J. Howard, turning the ball over on downs.
The Bulldogs went three-and-out one final time for the game, and Alabama took over at its own 34. Once again the offense was able to pick up multiple first downs, mostly behind the running of freshman running back Damien Harris, but could not cap off the drive with a score. On fourth-and-4, Harris was stopped for no gain.
Georgia got the ball back one final time, but on the fifth play of the possession, Lambert’s pass was intercepted by freshman defensive back Ronnie Harrison, the third interception thrown by the Bulldogs quarterbacks.
Freshman running back Bo Scarborough came in to carry the ball for the final two plays of the game to run out the clock.